Friday, April 4, 2008

Breaking Wilson Yard News

Courtesy Uptown Chicago Commission:
On March 12, 2008, the City of Chicago Department of Planning introduced a 2nd amendment to the Wilson Yard TIF. The matter was referred to the Committee on Finance and is expected to be considered by the full council on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.
A 2nd amendment is necessary because the developer "has encountered a number of additional challenges that have caused changes to the nature, budget and timing of the project" since the 1st amendment was adopted in June 2007.
Outline of Significant Changes
* Costs to deliver 98 units of low income senior rental apartments has increased to $337,000 per unit - nearly double the area median sales price for 1 bedroom, 1 bath condos over the past 6 months.
* Costs to deliver 80 units of low income family rental apartments has increased to $447,000 per unit - greatly exceeding the area median sales price for 2-3 bedroom, 2 bath condos over the past 6 months.
* Third-party lenders have reduced the amount of funding they are willing to provide to the project by $20 million, or approximately 23%. The funding shortfalls are to be met by the City and Holsten; each organization's contribution will increase by $10 million.
* The City's funding may need to increase again, once maximum environmental remediation costs are determined.
* Size of the retail / restaurant mixed-use building will increase from 16,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet.
* All references to "Target Corporation" are to be replaced with "Target Corporation or an affiliate thereof."
In Separate but Related Actions
The Illinois Housing Development Authority reversed its earlier commitment to lend $750,000 to construction of the low income senior rental apartments and also requested that the developer return low income housing tax credits IDHA had previously pledged to help fund the low income family rental apartments. IDHA determined that the project "was in danger of not being completed by the date the project was to placed into service." Holsten requested that the tax credits be available at a future, unspecified date.
Aldi Project Costs
It should be noted that the only development deliverable completed since creation of the Wilson Yard TIF in 2001 is replacement of an existing Aldi discount grocery store - at a total cost of $5.6 million, $650,000 of which went to Holsten. Perhaps we should begin referring to this as the Aldi TIF; it may be the only thing ever built with these TIF funds.
Interesting Point of Comparison
In the newly designated Hollywood Sheridan TIF, plans are underway to acquire and renovate a 200 unit low income rental building at costs estimated from $125,000 - $150,000 per 1-2 bedroom, 1 bath unit.

Update:
We will be adding our handy "News Media Contact At Your Fingertips" off on the right.
Use this to give the local media any Uptown news tips, including this one.

Update #2: Curious what $400K will get you in one of Chicago's poshest neighborhoods, Lincoln Park? Take a gander here.

Update #3: Here are some other tidbits from the recently released WY documents:
New clause that states there is no ceiling on what the city could pay for remediation cleanup of this contaminated site.
We know if Holsten can claim the parking lots are part of the remediation he would shift cleanup costs to the City and the taxpayers.
This seems to be his plan because he removed both the cost of toxic remediation and the cost of the parking lot from the most recent budget. The costs for these two items total $21.1 Million! So $21.1M is missing from the latest Wilson Yard budget. The city will have to come up with the money for this unaccounted cleanup and parking costs to the tune of $21.1 Million.
This raises the cost per low income housing unit to a whopping to $480,905! Not the quoted $447,000!!! (with no end in sight).
Be aware that City Council is being asked to approve this outrageous cost increase without any assurance (letter of intent from Target) that Target is actually building/buying into Wilson Yard. IN FACT, the wording has changed to state: Target or affiliate.

81 comments:

  1. That is a good point about renovating units rather than building them. With the number of foreclosures city-wide, renovating buildings in scattered site locations would be a cheaper alternative and would more fully meet the new philosophy behind affordable housing these days. I am not saying don't build any new construction, just take advantage of the cost benefits that have come out of over building.

    I am not a builder, but it would seem that new construction would be pretty expensive with all of the ADA compliant things they would need to include. Do we have any builders on this board who have any thoughts?

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  2. $447,00 per unit!!!
    Are we being "Reskoed"?
    Does every subcontractor have their hand out because they know Shiller will push this horrible project through even if the construction cost toppled $1M per unit? (She dosen' care it's not her $$)
    How can this be when the land cost was next to nothing?

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  3. It will be fun to see how Shiller and Holsten spin these latest tidbits.

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  4. Tell me there isn't something extremely shady going on with these funds, like campaign financing or something. The land was basically given to them by the CTA, yet the rental units are more than twice the area median price - to BUY a condo???! There's something fishy in Denmark.

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  5. Of course something is fishy, that has been the case since the very beginning. I wonder how the 46th ward office can spin this one. “Target is coming Target is coming… well we never really thought Target was a good fit we are going to find something even better..” It feels to me that Millions of Dollars are being thrown around like they are extra change found under a chair. Who do we call for up to date accounting on the project.

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  6. Target or an Affiliate thereof?

    The only affiliate of Target I found on Google was Mervyn's which looks like a discount version of Target. http://www.mervyns.com/default.aspx

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  7. "expected to be considered by the full council on Wednesday, April 9, 2008"

    So does Uptown descend on City Hall? What is the plan? If we go down there, expect to be told that you hate little old ladies and you would rather see them on the street eating catfood than in a nice comfy bed. However, since I will be one of those little old ladies someday, I say "bring it on!" I say, by creating one massively corrupt boondoggle project in one part of town they are making it so that there won't be any more money left for little old ladies all over Chicago. It is just common sense. If you waste your money, there is less to go around. THEY are the ones who will be causing little old ladies to have no where to go!

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  8. The whole Wilson Yard TIF has been a miserable failure. The only way for it to succeed is to scrap the whole thing and start over.

    All of which I know will never happen.

    At some point the powers that be in this city need to tell them no, you've had too long to get this project going and you failed. Instead, Holsten has been collecting TIF $$ for several years while doing nothing. And as a reward he gets more of our money. I'm calling b*llshit on this one!

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  9. Let's invite the Chicago Children's Museum to locate in the Wilson Yard along with a few stores and restaurants. We can probably afford to pay for about 1/2 of it with TIF money making it so that the museum could offer free entrance to families of modest means. It would provide a reason for the CTA to rehab the Wilson EL to its former glory. We could open an early child development center next to it for area mothers who need childcare. Other states have such models in which the children's museum is used as a "learning playground" for early childhood programs.

    If Mayor Daley wants to make sure that poor children get access to the museum, put it on a CTA line, make it free for them and put it where the poor children are.

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  10. Wonder what Dave Roeder at the Sun-Times has to say about this latest development?

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  11. If the mayor cared about children he would put the museum in UpTown. What, he doesn't want white kids coming to where some of the black poor kids are?

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  12. That is the biggest bunch of BS I have ever heard!!!

    The city will credit you for $260,000.00 to build and provide for CPAN(That is the cost with a little profit for developer)and now they are allowing for half a million a unit.

    We need a lawsuit!!

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  13. Daley can't put the Children's Museum in Uptown (even though we would gladly put millions and millions of TIF dollars towards it)because that would mean that visitors to the City would see garbage and crime and how MOST children in Chicago are growing up.

    It will be plainly obvious to outsiders how parents who can afford private school or figure out a way to get their kid into a magnet school can afford to have a good quality of life in Chicago. Everyone else is SOL and has to just hope that their kid is lucky enough to get a good, hardworking teacher who will try to make the best of a bad situation.

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  14. 1-bedroom apartments for $337K?
    2-3 bedroom apartments for $447K?

    Day-ummmm. The cost of "affordable housing" in Holsten's Wilson Yard makes every condo nearby look like a bargain.

    Ald. Shiller likes to say "Uptown isn't Lincoln Park," Well, her version of "affordable housing" for Uptown sure costs Lincoln Park prices, doesn't it?

    Unless these "affordable apartments" have granite countertops and travertine floors to justify the high, high cost, I'd be really curious to know:

    - Where is YOUR and MY taxpayer money going to "justify" these costs?

    - Who's getting filthy rich from this TIF?

    - And why do they keep asking for MORE money for this RIDICULOUS plan?

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  15. You are right Truman SQ. I would be happy to get $337K for my rehabbed 2 bedroom 2 bath condo + den in today's market.

    We need to get some expert real estate opinions to present before city council. How do we do this???

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  16. Gosh, with that money we could remodel some apartments in Lincoln Park and have poor people move there!

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  17. Curious what $400K will get you in Lincoln Park? Check out the link in the post.

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  18. why on earth is that type of money being spent on apartment units that, for the most part, will not be maintained and cared for the way the should be? These places will end up looking like the rest of the subsidized housing in the 46th ward does after a few short years.

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  19. At those prices, you could just take the money and purchase properties for low-income people throughout the city. They'd get their housing fast, they would have an opportunity to build equity and it would help tighten the market so that people will stop falling underwater on the value of their mortgages relative the value of their properties. This is insanity!

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  20. Not that it means anything at all, but there were probably a half dozen pick-up trucks at the WY site this morning as I drove by? Any ideas as to what is going on?

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  21. And how was this Master Developer, Peter Holsten selected? For his expertise at being a Master Developer? Based upon having the best RFQ (Request for Quote) from all those submitted? Hell, no. Per the Alderman's announcement, the community demanded him, and him alone. Ah, the Community Poseurs at work again.

    When does the Dept of Planning get held accountable for a non-open selection process? When does a Master Developer get removed?

    Is our poor little Uptown TIF's so bloated with money that we can continue this pattern forever? After all, only 50% of the properties in the TIF even pay taxes because the rest have non-profit tax exempt status.

    This is not the first major budget increase for this project, and I doubt it will be the last.

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  22. You can buy my 1500 sq foot 2 bedroom condo overlooking the lake in a Lake Shore Drive full service luxury condominium building with 24-hour doorman, pool, grocery, etc for easily $150,000 less than that. And we do have Section 8 renter of condo units living in this building.

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  23. So what is the plan? Do we write letters? March on City Hall? I am in the 48th Ward but I'd like to help. What are you Wilson TIFFers doing on Wednesday?

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  24. $480,000 can buy a very nice home in some of the outer suburbs where developers are having a hard time unloading unsold homes. I'll bet a one of these houses in a good public school district would be a dream come true for some of these families. As a matter of fact, it would be a dream come true for me.

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  25. How was Peter Holsten selected? Well, I wonder if giving Helen $10,000 worth of contributions helped?

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  26. How about a peaceful march on City Hall to protest the mis-use of tax payer money and corruption in city government?

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  27. What about a candle lit vigil? That would be quick to organize. We could probably get some press too if everyone in Uptown lit a candle(s) in solidarity. People could put candles in front of their buildings at a certain time and join a march with candles if they wanted.

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  28. It's going to be a nice place they are making them upscale affordable.

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  29. Anon 248 is on to something.

    Have Helen and the city of chicago partner up with Oprah and buy the houses as part of Oprah's "Big Give" self-promotional nonsense.

    Briliant!

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  30. Just to make sure I get this right... It will cost that much to build each unit and then Holsten will STILL get to collect rent on them---right?

    I sure done went into the wrong business!!!!

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  31. as to the Mervyn's comment, it was a clothing chain that for a time was pretty national. (West coast and Midwest.) It fell on really tough times and is now just on the West Coast. They actually had some nice stuff. But I can't imagine that that is the reason for the "affiliate" language. Mervyn's doesn't look like it is expanding and this is hardly the place one would expect it to go to first in a new expansion wave.

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  32. Let me get this straight. Wilson Yard is becoming the biggest boondoggle in the history of TIF abuse.

    * Senior one-bedrooms costing taxpayers $337,000 apiece. Will they have toilet seats they purchased from the Pentegon stock of $6,000 toilet seats?

    * Low-income family units are going to gouge us for another cool $480,000 each?

    * And Target has now become a big Family Dollar store or the likes of that?

    Tell me this an old April Fool's joke? Or are the real fools the taxpayers?

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  33. Anyone know how much the Ruth Shriman House cost to build? It is still a very nice facility.

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  34. Well actually the Ruth Shriman has its problems too. The firemen had a fit that they built it to within inches of the maximum height allowed to be built without a sprinkler system. In their minds, even though techinically allowed, it was dangerous to put so many seniors in studios in a building that tall knowing that it would be impossible to get them down the stairs in the case of a bad fire.

    Hey, but this is Uptown and cheap low income housing prevails over safe low income housing.

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  35. This seriosly calls for organizing a march. I don't even live in the TIF district but I would find a way to get there. Those numbers are completely unacceptable. This is some shady s**t.

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  36. People, notify the media!

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  37. It seems to me the change in language regarding Target may have something to do with the following:


    Background on Target, Target Greatland, SuperTarget and Pirate Humongous Gigaticor TARGET.

    Background on Target, Target Greatland, SuperTarget and Pirate Humongous Gigaticor TARGET.

    Supposedly, as best I can figure, to the utmostest of my lackof knowledgest, the Wilson Yard Target is supposed to be about 180,000 square feetsies. Which would put in the lower end of the range I e I oh, of a "SuperTarget".

    Does that explain the change of language. Only the Shadow knows.

    I do know that building 2 bedroom 2 bath subsidized rentals for $400-500 thousand yankee dollars is beyond crazy.

    There is a 2200 square foot penthouse at Buena Pointe listed at less than that. It has a parking spot. I almost bought the damn thing, but then I realized I couldn't afford it because of my addiction to eating.

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  38. The Cabrini-Shiller Housing Complex will be a huge success just like all of the other projects that are supported by Helen. When can we get a real alderperson that wants to improve the area by making it a place for all working families (poor, middle-income and rich).

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  39. Why do surrounding wards get all of the new restaurants and development? I think the developer has been stalling with the hope that Helen was going to be defeated in this last election and now he wants to change the terms as another stall tactic so he can put up market rate housing and not low income projects that cost a fortune. I guarantee if she goes the development would move forward very quickly. Maybe we want these price inceases to get approved because maybe the kick back to Helen would allow her to retire early and we would all be better off! It would be money well spent.

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  40. Well, bravo to UU and all those who have been searching for answers. Looks like alot of our assumptions all along as to why we were not getting any information and why nothing is happening at that site were true.

    As an aside, I must say, this blog does a great service for the citizens of Uptown in providing a outstanding forum to share information and ideas.

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  41. How tall are they going with this building? They built a fortress between Clarendon and the Lake when Weiss was allowed to expand across 3 city blocks (McComick Place style)

    Are they going to put another fortress along Broadway from Montrose to Wilson? Originally, the only highrise west of Broadway was the Norman Hotel on Wilson (which Peter Holsten remodeled into an SRO when he came in with ONE and Shiller after she was first elected)

    I'm opposed to putting towering structures dominating that 3 flat area or cutting them off from the East side of our community.

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  42. I am SERIOUSLY pissed off about this... Uptown Update, please set a time and place to march on city hall, let's use this blog to get the press on this, and let's make our voices heard. This is f-ing ridiculous, and I'm REALLY sick of Uptown suffering this kind of abuse. I love this community, I love the diversity, the buildings, the spirit of the place, but I am SICK AND TIRED of the shadiness and lack of responsiveness in our local government. Seriously... time and place, and marching orders on how to swell our numbers to be as substantial as possible.

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  43. HOW TO YOU TOPPLE THIS HOUSE OF MAKE-HOSTEN-RICH by ripping off the taxpayers for luxury prices low income housing?

    Very simple: Da Mayor
    Imagine this clip on all the local news stations....

    Daley, hair slightly askew with that wild look in his eyes., "I'm all for affordable housing. Hey, but when I heard these Wilson Yard apartments are gonna cost the taxpaying citizens of Uptown $480,000 per unit, this is insane."

    "What are they building? The Trump Tower of low income housing? Come on Helen, I bend over backwards for you since you're my poster child for low-income housing. But enough is enough. Helen, we got a recession going on, we got people losing their homes, and you think we can let this craziness to gouge taxpayers to the tune of $480,000 slip under the political rug?"

    Camera scans to Shiller, fire shooting out of her eyes. Pans to Holsten, slumped in his chair, Cole Hahn loafers scuffed, crying.

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  44. Once again, has everyone notified the media? They should be all over this story.

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  45. Since Angelina is apparently going to marry Brad over my objections I am despondent.

    Therefore I made a short movie I call Wilson Yard Polka.

    Enjoy. Or not. Unlike Wilson Yard you have a choice.

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  46. Me likie, IrishPirate!

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  47. There are probably some number crunchers in the city working overtime this weekend to show that these numbers are exaggerated. Could someone with a facility for numbers calculate the price range that these prices will fall into using various formulas with certain parts of the project being either in or out of the calculation?

    I will bet anyone one of these deluxe apartments in the sky that they will be saying on Wednesday that the cost overruns are not out of line, that it doesn't make sense to calculate a per-unit cost or that the per-unit cost has been exaggerated by people who don't want to see any affordable housing being built in the City.

    Oh, those evil people...let's hunt them down...

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  48. 3rd WY Amendment on Finance Committee agenda

    TUESDAY, APRIL 8,2008
    AT 11:OO A.M.,
    IN THE CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER,
    SECOND FLOOR,
    CITY HALL

    from DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING

    7. A communication recommending a proposed Third Amendment to a previously executed
    Loan Agreement and to a previously approved Bond Issuance with Wilson Yard Senior
    Housing, L.P.

    Amount of Bonds not to exceed: $20,000,000

    Amount of Loan not to exceed: $6,500,00

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  49. fellow citizens of Illinois,

    please note well that the above linked agenda for an 11 AM Tuesday public meeting was stamped "received" by our City Clerk at 3:41 PM late on a Friday afternoon, flaunting

    note the creation date of this PDF, 10:31:45 PM Friday, April 4th

    the Illinois Open Meetings Act entitles citizens of Illinois to a written agenda 48 hours. two business days in advance

    for failing to provide the public with adequate advance notice, the Finance committee may discuss but may not act on this Tuesday

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  50. the clerks office was working overtime Fri night to get this posted, but it is still late

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  51. Council Rule 44 requires Council committees to report an issue back to the full Council with a recommendation of "pass" or "do not pass", but since the Finance committee cannot legally vote on this, they cannot have a recommendation ready for the Wed 10 AM full City Council meeting.

    Another rule, 41, provides a mechanism for alderman to pry an issue out of committee, but it has to languish in committee for 60 days 1st

    I expect our home town's City Council to blow past IL law Tuesday

    the full City Council is also required to post their agenda for Wed by 10 AM Mon, somebody should get down there and get a copy

    I am not a lawyer but it seems to me a restraining order citing our right to notice under OMA and prohibiting Finance committee action would be possible

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  52. Can someone or some group please take ownership of Wilson Yard? Hugh makes some good points but we need a leader. Who will step up? I am actively involved in stopping labor ready so my plate is full with extra curricular Uptown stuff. Please someone step up and others will join in.

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  53. Uptown Update is great, but don't just get "updated." Get involved. Do something in ACTUAL reality!

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  54. interesting analysis from UCC

    if we took the proposed budget and bought 178 market rate condos in Uptown and gave them to Holsten to rent, we would have money left over

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  55. Wilson Yard was just covered on the blog below. Good summary of this train wreck called Wilson Yard.

    http://mmneighbors.blogspot.com/2008/04/uptown-chicago-wilson-yard-disaster-can.html

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  56. "Everyone else is SOL and has to just hope that their kid is lucky enough to get a good, hardworking teacher who will try to make the best of a bad situation."

    Not really. My wife and I are leaving Chicago as soon as our children reach kindergarten. Come everyone, follow me to the suburbs!

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  57. WindyCity, it is not your fault but that is how we get a 2-class educational system. There is one educational system for poor kids and another for people who can avoid it. In order to get socio-economically mixed schools you have to put your money where your mouth is and you have to stop making bonehead decisions like flouting zoning restrictions allowing a day labor agency to open up across from the campus of a public elementary school. Right or wrong, parents who have a choice just won't send their kids to schools which have to operate under those conditions. And what happens is you lose the parents who have the money and connections that can bring positive changes to the school community---for the benefit of all children.

    It seems that anyone who is willing to stand up and say that all kids deserve a kid-friendly zone are branded racists. But they are only branded racists because they dare challenge the status quo and say that our politicians are not doing enough. It makes me sick.

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  58. "follow the money and the votes"
    Why do the units cost more than a Lincoln Park condo? Who is building them? What construction companies/subcontractors will be involved? Follow the ownership trail very closely.

    How did the TIF financing and approvals for this project get done? Follow the vote of a certain alderwoman who had consistently voted against the Mayor's budget but voted yes in the last one and note who the Machine supported in the last election for the first time.
    Why is this project being built?
    Follow the decline in the number of subsidized housing votes in the ward over the last few years. Has a certain Alderwoman's margin of victory narrowed in the last couple of elections. Follow the number of new votes that the project will generate?

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  59. Hello...I am asking anyone on this board. Please take ownership of Wilson Yard. I will stand with you and fight. Just tell me where and when.

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  60. Take ownership of the WY?

    You can't take ownership until it falls apart. It's in the act of crumbling, but it hasn't fallen. Let it fall on its own so that Helen has a more difficult time persuading City Hall and the press that it's the fault of the bad apples in the ward. It's not much longer. Too many people outside the ward are talking.

    Daley's support will dry up because he understands that the WY fiasco will have ended Helen's last bit of trust with the voters and after the close race with Cappleman, there's no way he would want to bet on a losing horse. The man is a political animal with no ounce of loyalty.

    Daley will throw his support behind the person who he deems will be the winner or stay out of it all together. Given his fear of an independent city council, I doubt he will stay neutral. He may want to start making nicey nicey with Cappleman who will be in the lead for 2011.

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  61. Oh, that is such bs, 8:45. They all want the housing at WY (no matter how much it costs) because Helen is one of the few alderman with money in a TIF fund who will take it.

    Although I agree that there is no loyalty on Daley's part, he very much doesn't want people up in arms about the city wasting money and about TIF abuse. If no one says anything, more funds will be added to the pot. And, if Hugh is right the vote isn't allowed to happen anyway. People living in the Wilson Yard TIF need to get organized and other people on the northside will help them. Why do you think that it will implode as you sit by drinking a latte?

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  62. anonymous 11:22, then put your money where your mouth is and start organizing or are you just whining.

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  63. "You can't take ownership until it falls apart. It's in the act of crumbling, but it hasn't fallen. Let it fall on its own ... "

    it will never "fall apart," please don't wait

    worst case scenario, even if Holsten went casters up, he does not have enough equity in the project to sink the project, WY is public works, the City/developer/alderman will simply find another GC, Block 37 style

    the City/developer/alderman is never going to come back the the community and say "we have failed, clean slate, who has ideas?", not gonna happen

    they will continue doing what they are doing now - continuously modifying the plan w/o public process

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  64. " ... if Hugh is right the vote isn't allowed to happen anyway. ... "

    I'm saying the votes WILL happen Tues & Wed

    slso as an aside that they will happen in blatant violation of IL OMA

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  65. "anonymous 11:22, then put your money where your mouth is and start organizing or are you just whining."

    I am putting my money where my mouth is and I am financially supporting the legal action to keep Labor Ready out and I am devoting hours and hours of my life toward it. I cannot take on Wilson Yard too but I will stand with those who do because the injustices are related. I am asking for someone to step up like I have stepped up. How about you 1:05?

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  66. That goes without saying. Of course I'm giving money to fight Labor Ready. I wish WY was as easy. I imagine the best scenario would be to have the funding stalled long enough to get a new alderman in place.

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  67. UNC should be all over this. Where are they? Guess these days they're more interested in what's happening in the 48th Ward.

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  68. Let's be fair here. UNC is an all volunteer organization. They do a ton of work in the community.

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  69. Anon 2:11. The top of my head just exploded after reading your snide and thoughtless remark.

    UNC volunteers have poured their blood, sweat and tears into endless hours of work on Wilson Yard. We have done our best to hold the alderman, developer and city accountable for the never ending nightmare they're trying desperately to salvage.

    Wilson Yard is in deep trouble.

    I am so damn proud of every volunteer who has helped uncover the real truth of the political abuse, the developer greed, every volunteer who has marched, testified, and provided community information through meetings, newsletters and the website.

    There is no doubt in my mind if UNC had not been around, you'd be looking at the largest public works project in TIF history sitting right now in Wilson Yard.

    So to all of the UNC supporters, members and especially the incredible volunteers, I say thank you, thank you, thank you!

    And remember...
    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, that's all that ever has.

    Katharine Boyda
    UNC president and proud of it

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  70. yes I agree with Katharine Boyda, UNC was the group from the start. UNC, It has been so long that we have lived with this deception and pit just north of Montrose, some people may have forgotten. I think you were behind the orange united signs>

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  71. Well, UNC...if you want a march or anything...there are more people to stand with you. Just tell us what you want us to do.

    I think the concern for Uptown has now extended beyond wards and beyond TIF districts. The money needs to be spent responsibly. We need better accountability.

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  72. Are U Tiffed-off? Wilson Yard is the Grand-daddy of TIF abuse.

    The alderman and developer really don't care what you, the people paying for their project, want to see replace the blight along Broadwy.

    You can march until you're purple, you can write a 1000 letters (as many of you have done), you can speak at City Council, and the machine doesn't give a sh-- about what's really going on.

    There are two things that can be done to stop this massive TIF abuse:
    1. A law suit filed against Wilson Yard right now. And that's putting money in the pot.
    2. Starting a city-wide TIF reform organization that demands TIFs have an active, well defined and organized community process, are fully transparent and all spending is clearly spelled out on your tax bill and in TIF documents.

    It's that simple.

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  73. Ok, r-u-tiffed off. As soon as we get the Labor Ready lawsuit off the ground I'll put money in the pot to stop the TIF abuse. Count me in.

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  74. Nazis in our backward
    I am appalled at the racist, classconsciousness, agist comments posted by suburban transplants who continually rail against Hellen Schiller and life long residents of Uptown.This is the same trash that live off stock opions, hedge funds and other venture capitalest scams,voted the Facist George Bush,eager to recive their economic dole and only to anxious to take advantage of the system to enhance to enhance themselves at the expense of others.

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  75. Anonymous,

    I don't know whether you are serious or not. I do know that if you are serious then you need to learn to spell.

    Remember, "The Revolution will not be televised".

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  76. "Godwin's Law: As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress."

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  77. Ha. Godwin's law is a real thing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

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  78. Anon 4/10/08 1:58 - Wanting safe streets, less crime, less taxpayer dollars wasted and used to line the pockets of political allies makes us Nazi's? Good logic. You're right. I do want to enhance myself. I want to also enhance my neighborhood to the point where I don't have to read an Uptown Crime Blog to know if it is safe to walk to the store at night. You should want these things too. If you're satisfied with how things are in the neighborhood in their current state, that is your choice. I for one, am not, and I am not alone.

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  79. I work in affordable housing policy (not for a developer, and not with any Uptown projects - I'm interested because I live near Agatite/Sheridan). A few points. Building subsidized housing is just more expensive than building the same housing without subsidy. In addition to the ADA requirements that the first poster mentioned, and many City requirements that only apply to City-funded developments (some having to do with green building, others not), and the costs of preparing the various applications for housing subsidy (horrible system, but it's the only way to do it), Holsten also probably has to pay Davis-Bacon and/or prevailing wages, which greatly add to the cost. That being said, the per-unit numbers quoted are admittedly obscene. The City's Department of Housing publishes quarterly reports that show the per-unit construction costs for other affordable housing that they subsidize; that would be a reasonable universe for comparison, rather than the sales prices of rehabbed (or not) area condos. New construction generally is not a bargain compared to rehab. (Other recent DOH-funded rental properties have topped $300K per unit though I'm not sure how high they've gone).

    Additionally, the question of what non-housing costs are included in the total development cost is also reasonable. Whether or not there are reasonably-priced plans for the commercial and retail development at WY is another issue, but it would be helpful to know if those costs are being assigned to rental units in the per-unit cost calculation (in which case, comparison to other affordable housing deals would be easier if there was a housing-only TDC/unit) or if they've been kept separate (in which case, wowza.)

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  80. This smells of corruption - Stroger will be involved soon if he is not already.

    Why are we building more subsidized housing in this area? It already has enough crime - 5 murders in 3 days in late 07- look at any subsidized housing, Cabrini, Robert Taylor etc, and you will see that concentrating low income creates unsafe environments for every citizen.

    We need an organization in Wilson Yard that can demand better gang control in the area.

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  81. what does "cost to deliver" refer to?

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